Military News

Thursday, April 15, 2010

USS Mesa Verde Speeds Through Maiden Deployment

By Lt. j.g. Jennifer Womble, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 Public Affairs

April 15, 2010 - USS MESA VERDE, At Sea (NNS) -- As USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) approaches the halfway point in her maiden deployment, her flexibility continues to enable her to fulfill multiple missions from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in Haiti to maritime security operations (MSO) in the Arabian Gulf.

"We started off with a very meaningful mission right out the gate, going down and helping folks in Haiti. That was a tremendous opportunity for the ship to really earn its operational stripes," said Cmdr. Larry LeGree, Mesa Verde's commanding officer.

"I have a really solid team, and we're enjoying operating this new ship," said LeGree.

Mesa Verde is forward deployed helping to ensure security and stability in U.S. 5th Fleet's Area of Responsibility (AOR).

As part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group, Mesa Verde is one of three ships that either operate together as a group, or when needed separately to fulfill multiple missions.

Mesa Verde is operating separately, also known as conducting distributed operations, during most of its time in theater, requiring it to move locations frequently.

"If this [distributed operations] is the way the ARG/MEU (amphibious ready group/marine expeditionary unit) teams are going to operate in the future - these big LPDs really are a good platform for that," said LeGree.

Mesa Verde's speed and fuel efficiency has enabled the ship to increase her operating range and flexibility, making Mesa Verde a sought after commodity for mission commanders.

"The ship has a beautiful hull form. It's a very laminar kind of flow to it. And, as a result, it's a fast ship and it is also a very fuel efficient ship. I have no problem covering lots of ground. And that's the reality of distributed operations; we go from one position for one exercise or engagement to another and we make lots of good, sustainable speeds," said LeGree.

Mesa Verde is part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, currently supporting MSO and theater security cooperation operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, under the command of Expeditionary Strike Group 5.

Groton Welcomes USS Virginia Home

April 15, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- USS Virginia (SSN 774) returned to homeport at Submarine Base in New London, Conn., April 13, after completing the namesake class' first full six-month deployment.

Virginia spent most of her deployment in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Persian Gulf while making port calls in Rota, Spain; Souda Bay, Greece; Fujairah, United Arab Emirates; and Aksaz, Turkey.

"Virginia met the highest expectations during her first full-length deployment," said Capt. Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager. "She left homeport, and spent 75 consecutive days at sea prior to her first port visit, executing important tasking for her deployed commanders. The fleet and support organizations, such as Submarine Squadron 4, Naval Submarine Support Facility New London, and Regional Support Group Groton, all worked very hard to ensure she was ready to go. With a deployed operational tempo of 85 percent — the highest of any boat in the Atlantic — it's clear the hard preparatory work paid off. The design of this class, the maintenance support structure, and the ability of the fleet to superbly operate it, have all been proven."

While Virginia's recently completed deployment is the class's first full-length patrol, Virginia and sister submarines, USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), each completed shorter-duration missions prior to undergoing their Post-Shakedown Availabilities (PSAs).

"PSA is the last major repair and upgrade opportunity before a multi-year, multi-deployment period of the ship's life," said Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. William Hilarides. "With the pre-PSA deployments, and now Virginia's six-month patrol, the value of these ships is being fully realized by the combatant commanders." Before the end of the year, two more Virginia-class submarines, Hawaii and USS Texas (SSN 775) will depart from their homeport of Pearl Harbor on their initial regular-length deployments. Additionally, the Navy will commission Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780), July 31, marking the second time since 1996 the Navy has commissioned two submarines of the same class in the same year. USS New Mexico (SSN 779), the sixth ship of the class, was commissioned March 27, after delivering to the Navy four months ahead of the contracted delivery date. Other upcoming Virginia-class events include PCU California's (SSN 781) christening this fall, PCU Mississippi's (SSN 782) keel laying this summer, and PCU Minnesota's (SSN 783) keel laying this winter.

Air Force aid helps family provide 'Hope for Max'

by Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

4/15/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- During the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, Airmen have the opportunity to give to four charities that help Airmen and their families.

For one Joint Base Charleston Airman, the donations given by the Air Force family helped him care for his own family, specifically his son max, who was diagnosed with a rare, genetic neuromuscular disease.

Throughout his career, Capt. Aaron High, 15th Airlift Squadron deputy readiness flight commander, said he always enjoyed giving each year during the annual AFAF campaign because of his relationship with a fellow Airman earlier in his career who was able to fly home for a family emergency using the Air Force Aid Society.

In hindsight, he said he never thought he'd be on the receiving end, yet some years later he found himself seeking help during a difficult time.

The Air Force officer said he knew something wasn't right when activities began posing difficulty for his infant son Maximilian. What he and his wife Traci had yet to discover was that their son Max was suffering from spinal muscular atrophy.

"I remember noticing something wasn't right about the time Max turned three months old," Mrs. High said. "He didn't seem to be moving his legs as much anymore and would rarely reach up."

The difficulties faced with day-to-day care for their young son required Captain High and his wife to purchase a mobility chair for Max and a new modified van to accommodate it. The cost was considerable.

Knowing how Air Force Aid Society had helped his friend many years ago, Captain High had questions about what AFA could do for his family as well.

"I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I'll tell you, from start to finish with them it was a very easy process," Captain High said. "They helped us out a significant amount."

With aid from the AFAS and several others supporting his family, Captain High was on track to acquiring the necessities for his son.

"There isn't a time that I don't get in that van and realize how lucky, how fortunate and how grateful we are," he said. "It wasn't a matter of if we would do it we had to do it."

Now, going on 4 years old, Max still struggles with SMA, a disease which afflicts approximately one in 6,000 children at birth and is similar in symptoms to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Captain High said his son's diagnosis came as a surprise. How is it that he, his wife and both their families have no trace of this disease which suddenly appeared with Max?

As it turns out, the genetic disease appears with the presence of two recessive genes in an individual. In the case of Captain High and his wife, they had lived out their lives carrying one each and never knew it. When each of their genes paired in Max, the result was the occurrence of SMA. One in 40 individuals is a carrier of the recessive gene, Captain High said, and there is currently no cure.

In the past several years, Captain High's family has faced many challenges, he said. Besides being "frequent flyers" at the local hospital, the medical care Max requires at home is around the clock. Their steps are taken together, one day at a time.

"He's a heck of a fighter," Captain High said. "He makes me very, very proud to go through what he's gone through. He's got a beautiful personality."

The AFAF campaign ends April 16.

Airmen provide humanitarian assistance in Kyrgyz village

by Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/15/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan (AFNS) -- Airmen from the Transit Center at Manas here participated in a humanitarian mission in Iskra Village April 14.

Airmen brought food, clothing and entertainment items to patients at the TokMok Psychoneurologic Boarding House.

This boarding house, which falls under the Kyrgyz Republic State Agency for Social Security, hosts 255 male patients, and is badly in need of repair and basic amenities, according to a letter written to the director of the Transit Center by Sheraliev K.Sh, the director of the boarding house.

"Today people with disabilities hope for your attention, support and warmth," he wrote. "Please, give them a helping hand and their grateful hearts will always remember you with wishes of success to you."

Voluntarily, through a private organization founded here called the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society, U.S. servicemembers.

At the house, Airmen saw firsthand the conditions the director mentioned in the letter.

"Hygiene is not properly practiced due to the lack of towels, toilet soap, tooth brushes and tooth pastes, toilet paper," Mr. Sheraliev said. "It is extremely cold in the dormitory rooms. Currently, patients are wearing galoshes; many of them do not have socks or proper clothing. The roof is leaking in the bathroom of the dorm located on the third floor. All the wire is not insulated; connection boxes are not covered; electrical plugs are not available at all."

The director expressed his emotional burden for the patients at the house, and said often thinking of them keeps him awake at night.

"We could be here all day if we were to continue to talk about all the needs," he said, and expressed his gratitude for the supplies that were brought and the help that the Transit Center Airmen wish to give in the future.

The civil engineers here also sent a site surveyor with the group to document the needs the building so they can help in the future.

"My heart hurts because there are so many needs," said Lt. Col. James Kinsey, the head chaplain at the Transit Center. "This is what we are called to do; help our fellow man, the children, the orphans, the widowers and those less fortunate than us."

This kind of outreach has become a solid part of the four mission sets of the Transit Center: moving people, fuel, and cargo and humanitarian assistance.

"I love being able to help the local community," said Tech. Sgt. Jamie McCarrison, the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing equal opportunity advisor. "One of my main goals in life is to have a positive influence on those around me. I believe the Air Force has given me a great opportunity to help those around me, by encouraging voluntarism. I am grateful to be assigned to the 376 AEW and be part of the humanitarian mission. I will have memories that will last a lifetime."

"We are in a unique position to be able to help others at many levels by getting out and visiting," she said. "Although we might not be familiar with the local language, the Transit Center likes to convey good will, which needs no spoken language. Good will comes from the heart, and the Transit Center has plenty of heart for the citizens of Kyrgyzstan."

Air Force nurse earns confidences of native Alaskan patients

by Staff Sgt. J. Paul Croxon
Defense Media Activity - San Antonio

4/15/2010 - NOORVIK, Alaska -- A joint medical team recently deployed to a remote village in northern Alaska where earning trust is often the first step to getting patients through the door.

According to Maj. Emily Cerreta, a traditional reservist assigned to the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, the fact that she is a woman nurse practitioner does have an impact on the care she is able to provide her Noorvik, Alaska, patients.

"Because I'm a woman, many of the female villagers are much more willing to come in for well-woman exams," said Major Cerreta, a civilian nurse practitioner for a family practice. "Some of the female villagers, especially young mothers, are also more open during their children's well-baby checkups as well."

Deployed to Alaska as part of Operation Arctic Care, a joint medial readiness training exercise, Major Cerreta works as part of a mixed team of medical professionals, from surgeons to veterinarians, deployed to more than a dozen villages in the region. In Noorvik, her team of dental, medical and pharmacy Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors have taken up practice in a clinic normally staffed by villagers trained in only the basics of medicine. The joint military team provides an opportunity for the small community to get caught up on preventative medical needs.

"Much of what we've done is preventative medicine," said the major. "We went to the school and performed physicals. I see a lot of women for well-woman exams, as well as well-baby exams."

The exercise has caused excitement in the close-knit community for some time. When the word got out that the military was brining doctors into Noorvik it caused a stir in the village, which is only accessible by air or snow machine for much of the winter.

"The military was here a few years ago and everyone looks forward when they come back," said Laura Ballot, a village resident whose son Hikerr Snyder was given his two-year well-baby check-up by Major Cerrera. "It's needed a lot, especially in the winter."

During this visit Hikerr was given a full-exam and vaccinated against common childhood diseases. However, the clinic was out of the H1N1 flu vaccine and it had to be ordered from a larger town in time for Major Cerreta to administer it to the child.

"The villagers are all very interested in their health despite being in a remote location like this," she said. "This has been the most rewarding annual tour I've been able to do yet. I get to train while helping people."

That help likely will be remembered. Today a 12-year-old girl put a note in Major Cerreta's pocket apologizing for having to leave with her family to Anchorage and being gone when the team leaves. Whether being a woman, a doctor or a ear to listen, Major Cerreta will leave a lasting memory on Noorvik, just as it will on her.

Air Combat Command leader visits mobility base

by 2nd Lt. Cammie Quinn
43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/15/2010 - POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. (AFNS) -- The commander of Air Combat Command visited Airmen assigned to the 18th Air Support Operations Group March 31, here.

Gen. William M. Fraser III discussed ACC's collaboration with Air Mobility Command officials, inquired about Airmen issues and expressed gratitude during the visit to the tenant unit.

ACC members rely on Air Mobility Command's forces for moving and providing supplies for the combat air forces and all the services in the area of responsibility.

"ACC and AMC have an outstanding relationship," General Fraser said. "Teamwork is necessary between the combat air forces and mobility air forces, and cooperation goes back to the previous leaders who have commanded both ACC and AMC."

ACC and AMC Airmen are critical links in the success of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and future operations. Members of both commands are constantly evolving to meet the changes in warfighting strategies.

General Fraser and Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command, work together to address these changes and repair issues and concerns between their commands.

"We continue to get closer and work better together," General Fraser said. "As the force provider, we're able to look across the entire Air Force and help source the request for forces. ACC is continuing to make progress with what we're doing as the force provider and AMC is getting better in the ability to deliver, both inter- and intratheater. The commands are tightly linked together."

To show his appreciation, and to better understand the challenges of his Airmen, General Fraser visits bases throughout his command to identify key issues weighing heavy on the minds of his Airmen and give him the opportunity to make changes in the system to improve their situations.

"During the base visits we get out, talk to Airmen and hear what their issues may be," General Fraser said. "I wouldn't know their concerns if I didn't go out to the field to get the feedback from the Airmen so I could better understand their position."



General Fraser is also focused on improving training and posturing Airmen assigned to the 18th ASOG for success.

"It takes time to grow this specialty and expertise," General Fraser said. "We've funded the billets, and now we have to grow the capability. We're putting more personnel into the system. We have to get the manning up because the Army wants more support and that's in recognition of the great job our Airmen are doing."

General Fraser acknowledged the hard work and dedication of his Airmen and appreciates their family members for their dedication as well.

"Airmen and their families should know that we understand where they are and the contributions they're making," General Fraser said. "The Airmen are making sacrifices and providing support to the Air Force and to our nation. I also want to thank the families of our Airmen, especially in these career fields. They can't be thanked enough for their sacrifices."

Gates Arrives in Barbados to Promote Security Cooperation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here tonight for meetings to show support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative aimed at curbing drug trafficking and other trans-border threats.

Gates will meet tomorrow with seven Caribbean defense ministers to assess progress in the initiative President Barack Obama announced a year ago at the Fifth Summit of the Americans in Trinidad and Tobago.

The secretary told reporters traveling with him that he plans to deliver the same message he has carried throughout this week's Latin America trip during visits to Peru and Colombia: The only way to confront regional threats is through regional cooperation.

"A key element of this [initiative] is the regional cooperation among the seven Caribbean islands' governments and the regional security arrangements that they have working together, particularly on narcotics, but also crime, which has become a real problem in several of the islands," Gates said.

The security initiative is built on three strategic objectives: substantially reducing illicit drug trafficking, advancing public safety and security and promoting social justice. The United States is providing funding to help these countries enhance their capabilities, training and information exchange to better address these challenges.

Obama initially pledged $30 million in fiscal 2010 funding for the initiative, but Gates said an additional $15 million was identified to boost that to $45 million. "About a third of that money will be used to ... enhance their regional security arrangements, particularly communications and boats for maritime interdiction," he said.

The president's fiscal 2011 budget request includes almost $73 million in military and economic aid for the program.

Fifteen Caribbean Basin nations are included in the security initiative: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

USS San Juan Arrives at PNSY for Overhaul

April 15, 2010 - KITTERY, Maine (NNS) -- USS San Juan (SSN 751), along with a crew of 13 officers and 121 enlisted personnel, arrived at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY), April 8, for an engineered overhaul (EOH).

San Juan will undergo maintenance and receive system upgrades.

"We are excited to have San Juan here at PNSY," said D. K. Horne, project superintendent. "Our pre-arrival team has done a great job getting us ready for the boat. I have a great execution team, and we are working with an excellent, hard-working crew. We are committed to delivering San Juan back to the fleet on-time with Portsmouth's historic quality."

San Juan was commissioned in August 1988 and was the first of the Los Angeles-class submarines to receive a number of improvements to the basic design. Like all the submarines that followed in its class, San Juan is quieter, incorporates an advanced sonar suite combat system, and is able to lay mines from her torpedo tubes. Forward diving planes were moved from the sail to the bow, and the sail strengthened for ice break through.

In January, San Juan was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" from Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12, for superior performance of duty.

The on-time or early completion of submarine availabilities is critical in the maintenance of today's Fleet and is essential to maintaining warfighter readiness. PNSY, a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command, provides the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet with quality overhaul work in a safe, timely and affordable manner.

Logistics Team Proves Value of Boots-on-Ground during Balikatan '10

By H. Sam Samuelson, U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka

April 15, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- A "boots-on-ground" enlisted Logistics Response Team from U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC), Yokosuka, Japan, returned from the Republic of the Philippines recently demonstrating the value of small, forward-serving logistics teams supporting ships anywhere in the western pacific.

Three enlisted Logistics Specialists and a U.S. Marine Aviation Supply Specialist established a Logistics Response Team, or "LRT," at Clark Air Base in Luzon, to support ships of the USS Essex (LHD 2) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), participating in Exercise Balikatan 2010.

Like a "micro-FISC," the LRT provided the Essex ESG, including USS Denver (LPD-9) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), with full, local, expeditious logistics support that ensured the ships' and embarked Marines' full operational capability throughout the exercise.

"All the supplies, the stores, repair equipment and the mail arriving from around the globe: we're the local logistics who made sure it all got into the hands of the operators who needed it, or – in the case of the mail – the Sailors who read it," said Logistics Specialist First Class (SW) Mariel Gatbonton.

According to Gatbonton and fellow LRT member Marine Staff Sergeant Allan Cayabyab, more often than not, getting cargo aboard ships via helicopter includes a harrowing coordination of staging, time, and brute human effort.

"We have about a fifteen-minute window to get the cargo loaded onto the 'helo' when it arrives at the airfield," Cayabyab said, adding that the pilots keep the rotors turning at idle during the loading process. "And, whatever is staged has to be loaded fast; if there are no trucks or forklifts, we assemble a working party and muscle it into the aircraft. We understand the pilots don't want to expend too much fuel idling."

Recognizing their role as the bottom line for the ships' supplies, often including essential repair parts and equipment, Cayabyab said, "We're the last mile."

FISCs around the world are embracing upgraded Naval Supply Systems Command paradigms known as "alignment" and "global logistics support." These concepts, heralded by the headquarters Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers in San Diego, more closely aligns the Fleet Industrial Supply network with the various fleets around the world.

In the case of FISC Yokosuka, that means surging LRTs virtually anywhere in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility, ensuring ships receive local, friendly FISC support no matter where they operate, providing what they need, where they need it, on time and on location.

"I can tell you, even while we were supporting Balikatan, there was no ship or unit near us that we were not able to assist with logistics support," Gatbonton said.

"The LRT concept is, in reality, the most efficient, on-scene way to maintain logistics support for our fellow shipmates and their ships," he said.

With logistics coordination in place, the USS Essex ESG completed the full compliment of Balikatan training goals and achievements, including exercising interoperability with the armed forces of the Philippines and participating in numerous humanitarian aid projects by both Sailors and U.S. Marines with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Balikatan 2010 was in fact planned to improve interoperability, increase readiness and improve professional relationships between the United States and the Philippines. The 10-day, bilateral exercise involved ground, air and naval integration training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

FISC Yokosuka, one of seven supply centers under Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers (COMFISCS), is the Western Pacific region's largest Navy logistics command, includes more than 20 detachments, fuel terminals and sites from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam, from Misawa, Japan to Sydney, Australia.

COMFISCS comprises more than 6,400 military and civilian logistics professionals operating as a single cohesive team providing global logistics services from more than 200 locations worldwide. A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., COMFISCS is part of a worldwide logistics network of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel providing combat capability through logistics.

Naval Base Guam Sailors Share Navy Experiences with Students

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, Public Affairs, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

April 15, 2010 - MANGILAO, Guam (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Sailors spoke about their careers to students at Adacao Elementary School on Guam April 15.

Sailors from NBG Security Special Response Team (SSRT) discussed their mission requirements during the school's career day event.

SSRT performs law enforcement and anti-terrorism force protection for NBG, while also responding to high risk threats on naval assets and personnel.

Master-at-Arms 3rd Class David Enriquez said participating in the career day is a great opportunity to represent the Navy.

"Doing things like this, getting involved in the community, it builds a strong bond between the military and the island," said Enriquez.

The team brought bullet-proof vests, shields and other equipment they use in their jobs. They also gave students an opportunity to ram open a training door and turn on the sirens on an unmarked police vehicle.

Enriquez said he volunteered as a presenter to support the education of Guam's students and help them understand that there are many career opportunities available to them.

"I think it's very important for kids, even at a young age like these kids at elementary school, to get an idea of what they would like to be when they grow up," said Enriquez.

While many families on Guam have military ties, not all students have that connection, so partnering with schools helps youth learn more about the Navy, said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Thomas Woodlee.

"I really enjoy my job, and I like being able to talk to the kids about it," said Woodlee.

Carla Aguon, a fifth-grade teacher and co-coordinator of the career day, said the event is one way to apply classroom lessons to real-world experiences.

"Bringing the events to the kids today is bringing it to life," said Aguon, adding that the day means a great deal to the students. "It's a memory that will last a lifetime."

Evangeline Chang, the school principal, said it's important that people take an interest in children's education and is grateful Sailors were able to participate in the school's career day.

"I just want to thank the military people for taking time to be with us, especially to share their expertise with our children," said Chang.

NBG's mission is to support the U.S. Pacific Fleet and other operating forces operating from, serviced by or supplied through Guam; to support the fighters based on NBG or attached to tenant commands; and to support the families of Sailors stationed in Guam.

Military Engineers Help Haiti Build A Better Future

By Judith Snyderman, Defense Media Activity

April 15, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Efforts to help Haiti rebuild after a devastating earthquake on Jan. 12 will continue after the joint U.S. military task force there winds down at the end of May.

The chief engineer for Joint Task Force - Haiti, U.S. Navy Capt. James Wink, recapped progress and outlined plans for the next phase of recovery during an April 15 DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable discussion.

When he arrived Jan. 29, Wink witnessed overwhelming scenes of destruction.

"The amount of rubble that is caused by this earthquake is 25 million cubic yards. To put that in a picture, that's five Louisiana Superdomes filled with rubble," he said.

Logistics rather than technical engineering obstacles posed the greatest challenges. Many people, he said, were still living on the streets of Port-au-Prince at the end of January, so engineers began working in a triage mode to move people into shelter.

"Before we could do anything else, we had to get the rubble out of the way," Wink said.

Throughout the operation, he said he's been impressed by the unified effort between the Joint Task Force, which is working in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, international representatives and Haitian officials. The triple mission everyone is working towards, Wink said, is to establish a basic level of functioning shelter, sanitation and settlement for the people of Haiti.

He explained that an initial priority for engineers was to assess the main seaport which was heavily damaged. Analyses showed that, "the north pier was a complete loss," Wink said, but by the end of February, Seabees and Army divers had repaired the south pier well enough to allow small watercraft to relay critical humanitarian supplies from ships stationed offshore to troops at the pier who transported them to stranded civilians. By the end of March, he added, the south pier was fully operational and the port is now being run entirely by Haitian authorities with no DoD involvement.

Now, Wink said, engineers are focused on mitigating dangers from flash floods and landslides during the upcoming rainy season for people living in camps. "We're [working with] some of the Japanese and [U.S.] Navy Seabees inside some of those camps to install drainage systems and to build reinforcements to some of the walls," he said. Also, he said they are supporting the United Nations to build camps north of the capital city so they can move some displaced people out of harm's way.

Although Joint Task Force - Haiti will be deactivated at the end of next month, some Seabees will remain to work on a new Operation New Horizons mission. Wink said equipment is moving in now to help build community centers and schools in association with the mission.

Wink credited the service and sacrifice of U.S. troops and their families including the contributions of Navy Seabees, Army and Air Force engineers with much progress to date. Wink also recognized the remarkable resilience of the Haitian people.

"These people are dealing with a disaster that is almost unexplainable in U.S. terms. They are living in conditions that are foreign to us. Yet with a little bit of hope and a little bit of help they just pick up and move on," he said.

Charleston Navy Week Brings Sailors to the Community

By Lt. Timothy C. Page, Navy Office of Community Outreach

April 15, 2010 - CHARLESTON, S.C (NNS) -- The Navy Week in Charleston, S.C., is bringing to the community a snapshot of the mission and capabilities of the nation's sea service, April 12-18.

Scheduled events include local Sailors from Naval Weapons Station Charleston supporting community service projects, performances by Navy Band Southeast "Pride," and will conclude with the precision maneuvers and tactical demonstrations of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

Vice Adm. Anthony L. Winns, the Navy Inspector General and Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin, assistant chief of Naval Operations for the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), will meet with community, corporate and educational leaders to discuss maritime strategy and the current missions and capabilities of the Navy.

Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pickney (DDG 91) will present the mayor of Charleston with an American flag flown aboard in the Horn of Africa region. Pickney is named after Navy Cook 1st Class and South Carolina native William Pinckney. Crew members will also serve as special guests at Navy Day with the Charleston Riverdogs, a local single A baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Charleston Navy Week is one of 20 Navy Weeks scheduled throughout 2010. Navy weeks are designed to increase awareness and show communities the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

Air Force officials announce uniform policy changes

April 15, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Air Force officials announced April 12 uniform policy updates resulting from recent Air Force Uniform Board decisions.

The following policy modifications are effective immediately unless otherwise stated and will be incorporated into Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Air Force Uniform Dress and Appearance.

The tucking of trousers on utility uniforms into boots will remain optional. This reverses a mandatory tuck-in requirement previously announced by the 98th Air Force Virtual Uniform Board. When tucked in or bloused, the trouser must be even and draped loosely over the top of the combat boot to present a bloused appearance.

The green fleece watch cap is approved for wear with the all-purpose environmental clothing system, improved rain suit, cold weather parka, sage green fleece and the physical training uniform.

Air Force officials encourage all Airmen to affix name, rank and service designator tapes instead of waiting for the Oct. 1 mandatory wear date. However, officers wanting to wear a watch cap with the sage green fleece must now have their name, rank and service designator tapes affixed to the fleece effective immediately.

Other authorized cold weather items remain unchanged. They include the black or sage green leather, suede or knit gloves; black scarves that are tucked in; and black earmuffs.

Uniform officials remind Airmen that the sage green fleece can still be worn as a liner for the APECS without name, rank and service designator tapes. The black fleece will no longer be authorized for wear as an APECS liner on Oct. 1.

Air Force officials also modified the 97th AFUB decision that stated the women’s A-line skirt would become the primary mess dress skirt for the Air Force. The change allows the side-slit mess dress skirt to continue to be worn as an optional item.

For more information on uniform policy changes, contact your chain of command or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 15, 2010

NAVY

The engineering-environmental Management, Inc., Englewood, Colo., is being awarded a maximum amount $50,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for marine species monitoring, evaluations, and/or assessments at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic and Pacific area of responsibility. The work to be performed provides for marine and biological resources monitoring and management services. Specific tasks may include literature review and data searches; aerial, shipboard, and/or underwater surveys; passive acoustic monitoring; assessments to determine acoustic and other impacts; behavioral studies; biopsy darting; tagging; analysis of data and technical assistance to ensure legal compliance; preparation of necessary reports; consultation package and/or permit applications; as well as management and coordination of complex projects. Work will be performed predominately in Fla. (15 percent); N.C. (15 percent); Calif. (15 percent); Hawaii (15 percent); Va. (10 percent); Wash. (10 percent); S.C. (5 percent); Texas (5 percent); Alaska (5 percent), as well as outside the continental U.S. locations such as the Mariana Islands (5 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of Apr. 2015. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-10-D-3011).

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $42,088,896 fixed-price-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for non-recurring engineering to develop, qualify, test, and integrate an integrated avionics processor into the avionics system architecture for the Marine Corps MV-22 and the Air Force CV-22 (NRE only). The new IAP for the MV-22 will resolve obsolescence issues, add new network capabilities, increase data throughput for legacy 1553 network, and re-host mission computer capabilities that will significantly increase avionics system and operations readiness for the V-22 Program. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa. (70 percent) and Ft. Worth, Texas (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Services, Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., is being awarded a $16,109,337 indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, performance based contract (with provisions for firm fixed price orders) to provide Federal Enterprise Information Technology (IT) support services in support of federal agency customers including Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies. The required services are mainly for counter-terrorism related services. The products and services in this acquisition include program management, technical engineering support, integrated logistics support, configuration and data management support, direct customer support, and security engineering support for various Federal Enterprise IT systems and networks. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $85,539,822. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (40 percent), Wash., D.C., (30 percent), San Diego (20 percent) and Norfolk, Va., (10 percent) and is expected to be completed by April 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems e-Commerce Central website, with eight offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-10-D-3810).

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $9,904,637 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-6206) for the procurement of the Multi Purpose Processor and Total Ship Monitoring System (TSMS) systems under the Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Insertion (ARCI) Program requirements for FY10. The Multi Purpose Processor is used within the ARCI Program to improve submarine acoustic processing capability on SSN 688/688I/Seawolf and Virginia Class Submarines. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va. (65 percent); Chantilly, Va. (25 percent); and Millersville, Md. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity.

Information Network Systems, Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., is being awarded $9,673,254 for task order #0055 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9013). The scope of this effort is to provide analytical, acquisition, administrative, and logistics support for the program manager, optics and non-lethal systems (PM ONS), Infantry Weapons Systems (IWS), Marine Corps Systems Command. PM ONS develops, demonstrates, procures, fields, and provides life-cycle management support for electro-optical systems; optics tools and test equipment; and non-lethal and force protection (NL/FP) Systems to support USMC Operating Forces. This includes all day and night scopes, laser pointers, laser illuminators, thermal weapons sights, night vision enhancement devices, and NL/FP Systems. Work will be performed in Marine Corps Command organizations Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $7,656,042 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Tesoro Corporation, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded $7,421,107 for firm-fixed-price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5027) for design and construction of a Special Operations Forces small arms range at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a small arms range associated support infrastructure and will also include administrative and training facilities. The task order also contains three unexercised options, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $8,719,558. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $6,800,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for planned and growth supplemental work for the accomplishment of the Fiscal Year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections, recoating, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than are possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,800,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Science Applications International Corporation of McLean, Virginia was awarded a $22,000,000 contract which will provide for 19 replacement Deployable Tactical Air Navigation Systems in support of the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems program office in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. At this time, $7.7 million has been obligated. 747 ACSG/PKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is the contracting activity. (FA8102-10-D-0001)

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala. is being awarded a maximum $20,815,122 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for combat utility uniform. Other locations of performance are in Alabama. Using service is Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original proposal was Web solicited with ten responses. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is April 18, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0331).

Propper International, Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $13,827,589 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for combat utility uniform. Other locations of performance are in Puerto Rico. Using service is Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original proposal was Web solicited with ten responses. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is April 18, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0332).

Source for Native American Products, L.L.C., Princeton, Maine is being awarded a maximum $11,250,000 firm fixed price, total set aside, sole source contract for soft shell, cold weather, universal camouflage pattern jackets. Other location of performance is Ft. Kent, Maine. Using service is Army. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is August 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-10-D-1055).

ARMY

Kingfisher Systems, Alexandria, Va., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $15,805,284 firm-fixed-price contract for civilian contractor Intelligence Analysts Support Services in order to augment military staff for intelligence support within United States Forces-Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2012. Eighteen bids solicited with seven bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (GS-10F-0188T).

CoppreTop Ledcor JV, Beaufort, N.C., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $15,734,700 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an Army Reserve Center in Raleigh, N.C. Work is to be performed in Raleigh, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 9, 2012. Bids were solicited via FedBizOps electronic synopsis with thirteen bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Office, CELRLCT-M, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0046).

Bosco Construction, Inc., Centennial, Colo., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $13,413,797 firm-fixed-price contract for the Scout/Reconnaissance Qualification Process Range PN 72172, Urban Assault Course PN 72173 and Convoy Live Fire Range PN 72177 located at Fort Carson, Colo. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eleven bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0016).

AveroVironment Incorp., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $12,294,916 firm-fixed-price contract. This effort de-obligates excess funds and exercises a priced option for 216 Army digital link retrofit kits. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 19, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGX-05-C-0338).

Bosco Construction, Inc., Centennial, Colo., was awarded on Apr. 13, 2010 a $10,435,366 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of A Qualification Training Modified Record Fire, and Multipurpose Machine Gun Ranges, PN 71693, 72170, and 72171. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with fourteen bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0017). Butcher & Baecker Construction Co., Inc., Rochester Hills, Mich., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $6,630,360 firm-fixed-price contract to construct Red Horse Beddown facility, Mansfield Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. Work is to be performed in Mansfield, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with fifteen bids received. National Guard Bureau, USPFO for Ohio, Columbus, Ohio is the contracting activity (W91364-10-C-0001).

Arkel International, LLC., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $6,417,984 firm-fixed-price contract to provide 16 pre-engineered buildings to include electrical power, and force protection barriers to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The building will be utilized ads living quarters for service members aboard Camp Leatherneck. Work is to be performed in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 5, 2010. Ten bids were solicited with three bids received. Kandahar Air Field Regional Contracting Center, Afghanistan, is the contracting activity (W5K9GH-10-C-0099).

Gates Praises Colombia as 'Exporter of Security'

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates offered high praise to Colombia today as an "exporter of security" that, by sharing lessons learned in its crackdown against a leftist insurgency and drug-trafficking cartels, provides a model for the region.

Gates offered congratulations to President Alvaro Uribe and Defense Minister Gabriel Silva Luján during his meetings with them today, calling their leadership in Colombia's offensive against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, known as FARC, and other paramilitary groups "heroic."

"In just a few years, Colombia has achieved a remarkable, indeed historic, transformation in the security arena that few would have thought possible," Gates said during a joint news conference with Silva, during which Uribe offered opening remarks.

Gates praised progress in taking Colombia "from a nation under siege from drug trafficking organizations and military groups to a country quickly becoming a lynchpin of security and prosperity in South America." He also recognized the skill and bravery Colombia's military and security forces have demonstrated in this effort.

"Colombia's men and women in uniform have made great sacrifices to dramatically degrade the FARC and other terrorist groups, making Colombia a unique source of experience and expertise in combating these threats," he said.

Gates commended Colombia for sharing its knowledge and skills in counterinsurgency, law enforcement and anti-kidnapping training. "We believe these efforts are enhancing stability in the Americas," he said.

Meanwhile, Colombia has helped its neighbors cope with natural disasters, he said, including sending personnel and supplies to both Haiti and Chile after their devastating earthquakes. These humanitarian missions are indicative of Colombia's leadership in promoting regional cooperation to confront regional threats and challenges, he said.

Gates also acknowledged Colombia's role as an exporter of security beyond its immediate neighborhood, noting its plans to send troops to Afghanistan to support operations there.

"The United States is committed to provide the support necessary to help expedite this deployment," he said.

Looking to the future, the United States hopes to build on this momentum, Gates said, calling the two countries' continued bilateral defense cooperation "vital to both of our nations."

Uribe thanked Gates and the United States for its staunch support in helping Colombia confront the "longstanding scourge" of its internal threats. Colombia has not completely emerged from "the long night of narco-terrorism," he conceded, but he expressed optimism about what will be achieved through continued partnership with the United States.

Asked why the United States' new defense cooperation agreement with Brazil has drawn much less outcry than the U.S.-Colombia accord did when it was signed in October, Silva said the United States and Colombia established a ground-breaking model that others in the region now hope to emulate.

The U.S.-Colombian Defense Cooperation Agreement formalized the military-to-military relationship between the two countries to better address narcotics production and trafficking, terrorism, illicit smuggling and humanitarian and natural disasters.

Gates called the agreements "an important step forward" and said he hopes people come to realize they are focused only on promoting bilateral security relationships, not in providing a venue for the United States to interfere in other countries' matters. "I think these are opportunities for cooperation," he said. "The terms of these agreements are very explicit, that include adherence to the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries."

The secretary said his talks here also extended to the importance of a getting a free trade agreement ratified, noting that he talked with National Security Advisor James L. Jones Jr. before his trip here about renewing that effort. Gates referenced an op-ed piece he co-wrote with former Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos in July 2008 pressing for movement on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and said his views haven't changed.

"It's a good deal for Colombia, and it's a good deal for the United States," he said.

In his op-ed, the secretary lauded tremendous gains Colombia had made against its internal threats and called economic progress essential for these gains to stick.

"Colombia's hard-won freedom from violence can be sustained only through economic prosperity," he wrote.

Gates said a trade promotion agreement would establish a commitment to open markets that would increase this essential growth and investment in Colombia.

"To achieve lasting peace and stability, Colombia must have more foreign investment and free trade," Gates wrote.

Norad Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

April 15, 2010 - North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct a one-day exercise, Falcon Virgo 10-07, early Friday morning, Apr. 16, in the skies over the Washington, D.C. area. There will be two flights, with the first flight scheduled to take place between midnight until 2 a.m. EDT and the second between 4-6 a.m.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place on Apr. 20. People can expect to hear and see NORAD fighter aircraft, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, and Coast Guard helicopters as they participate in these exercises.

The exercise has been carefully planned and will be closely controlled to ensure NORAD's rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

For more information, please contact NORAD Public Affairs at 719-554-6889.

Navy to Commission Guided Missile Destroyer William P. Lawrence

April 15, 2010 - The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, April 17, 2010, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, who served nearly six years as a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam and later as superintendent of the Naval Academy.

Lawrence was born Jan. 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. At the Naval Academy, he played three varsity sports and was president and brigade commander, in which capacity he helped establish the Brigade Honor concept. He graduated from the Naval Air Test Center as an honor graduate and in 1958 was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound.

During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down. He remained a POW from June 1967 until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs.

Following promotion to rear admiral in 1974, he served as commander, Light Attack Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet; director, Aviation Programs Division on the staff of the chief of naval operations; assistant deputy chief of naval operations (air warfare); superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy; commander, U. S. Third Fleet in the Pacific; and chief of naval personnel, retiring in 1986.

Ross Perot, Texas businessman and former presidential candidate, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship's namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence's daughters, Laurie Lawrence, M.D., and Capt. Wendy Lawrence, USN (Ret.) will serve as sponsors of the ship. In accordance with Navy tradition, they will break a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow and christen the ship.

William P. Lawrence, the 60th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to supportmaritime warfare in keeping with "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams, II, is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence is being built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4

Former U.S. Army Reserve Officer Pleads Guilty

Former U.S. Army Reserve Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting Illegal Gratuities Related to Contracting When Serving at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait


April 15, 2010 - A former captain in the U.S. Army Reserve pleaded guilty today to accepting thousands of dollars in gratuities from a contractor during his deployment to Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Markus E. McClain, 31, of Brandon, Miss., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton in the District of Columbia to a criminal information charging him with accepting an illegal gratuity.

According to the court document, then-Lt. McClain served in 2004 in a unit at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, responsible for administering contracts for buses, non-tactical vehicles and other materiel. According to the court document, representatives from a company that held a contract to provide buses to the U.S. military offered McClain cash and other things of value in return for the extension of its contract. While McClain initially declined this offer, he admitted he later accepted $15,000 in cash from a senior executive of the company. McClain admitted that this payment was for or because of actions he took in an effort to secure the extension of the company’s contract.

McClain faces up to two years in prison and a fine of $250,000 at sentencing. In addition, McClain agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to the United States. A sentencing date has not yet been set by the court.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Richard B. Evans and Kevin O. Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Trial Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Emily W. Allen of the Criminal and Antitrust Divisions. The case is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).

Today’s charge is an example of the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect U.S. taxpayers from procurement fraud through the National Procurement Fraud Task Force. The National Procurement Fraud Initiative, announced in October 2006, is designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Anyone with information concerning illegal conduct in the procurement of goods or services involving DOD contracts in Iraq or Afghanistan is urged to contact the National Procurement Fraud Task Force at 202-514-7023 or the Public Integrity Section at 202-514-1412.

Military Children

Documentary Focuses on the Life of Military Children


By Christen N. McCluney

April 15, 2010 - “Brats: Our Journey Home” is the first documentary that talks about growing up military. The film which was narrated by musician and former Air Force brat Kris Kristofferson discusses the experiences and connections of children being raised in the military.

The term brat is often used for a person whose parent or parents have served full-time in the military during their childhood and is based on the acronym “British Regimental Attached Traveler.”

Donna Musil wrote and directed the documentary after growing up as an Army brat. Her experience inspired her to make the film and develop Operation Military Brat, an educational outreach program that focuses on improving the lives of military brats and raising the awareness of challenges and sacrifices that military children make.

“I moved 12 times in 16 years on three continents, attended 3 high schools, and lost my father to service-related injuries when I was 16. I suppose in a nutshell, I made the film to figure out who I am and where I’m from,” she said.

The film serves as a platform to talk to former brats, including General Norman Schwarzkopf, about what it is like growing up in a military environment and features home movie footage, photos and first-person stories.

Musil thinks the film has been a wonderful tool for families, counselors, doctors, and teachers, but also added that the film has gotten some mixed responses as well.

“We do talk about serious issues, including the way PTSD plays out in a family and the long-term effects of excessive mobility, so occasionally we come across people who aren’t quite ready to hear these things.”

She added that the overall response to the film has been wonderful and the project has taken a life of it’s own. “[I] realized it’s not about me at all, except to the extent that I’m just another Army brat.”

“I’ve learned so much since the film has been released. Like the little engine that could, brats just keeps chugging along.”

In celebration of the Month of The Military Child the AFN Family Channel Sunday will show the documentary (outside of the U.S.) on April 25 at 4:30pm. Check the Brats site for future screenings in the U.S.

Hollywood and AAFES Mark Milestone with ‘The Losers’ Premiere

April 15, 2010 - DALLAS – Since its start in December 2001 with Paramount Pictures’ “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Distributor Appreciation program has hosted 149 preview screenings at military installations the world over.

On Sunday, April 18, nearly a full week before its U.S. release in commercial theaters, AAFES will team up with Warner Bros Pictures to deliver a landmark 150th military Distributor Appreciation screening when the action thriller “The Losers” will be shown at 12 Army and three Air Force “Reel Time” theaters.

“150 military Distributor Appreciation previews over the last nine years really is an extraordinary achievement,” said AAFES Vice President of Food and Theater Roy Robertson. “Frankly, none of these events would have been possible without the tremendous efforts of our Motion Picture Team headed up by Jon Walters and the phenomenal support we continually receive from the distributors. We’re excited about working with our partners to deliver another 150 preview screenings to the military communities AAFES so proudly serves.”

“The Losers” is centered upon the members of an elite U.S. Special Forces unit sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. The team finds themselves the target of a lethal betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Presumed dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they're joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda. Working together, they must remain deep undercover while tracking the heavily-guarded Max, a ruthless man bent on embroiling the world in a new high-tech global war.

“The Losers” Distributor Appreciation Preview Locations:

Army installations include: Ft. Bliss, Ft. Bragg, Ft. Campbell, Ft. Drum, Ft. Gordon, Ft. Hood, Ft. Irwin, Ft. Jackson, Ft. Lee, Ft. Lewis, Ft. Rucker and Ft. Sill.

Air Force installations include: Lackland AFB, Nellis AFB and Sheppard AFB.

Kearsarge Tops Weapons Inspection

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Phil Beaufort, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

April 15, 2010 - NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Weapons Department aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) successfully completed their Explosive Safety Technical Assist Visit April 12, with a finding of "Low Risk."

The Low Risk determination means Kearsarge's Weapons Handling Program is as safe as possible when dealing with explosive materiel.

Inspectors from Afloat Training Group (ATG) Atlantic conducted a 12-point survey of Kearsarge's weapons program, prior to loading and storing ordnance.

According to Chief Warrant Officer David Meers, Kearsarge's gunnery officer, the goal of the inspection is to determine whether the Weapons Department's ordnance handling program is up to Navy standards.

"This assist visit is the first step in passing our full weapons certification," said Meers. "The primary focus of the inspection is simple. Is our weapons handling program a safe one? In order to determine that, ATG starts with the administrative side of the house and then looks at any department on the ship that's involved with weapons handling, storage or transport."

Weapons are an integral part of a warship; and the handling, stowage and deployment of weapons affect a large number of ship's departments.

"On the administrative side, they need to know if our inventory correct. Is everyone directly handling ordnance, qualified to do so," said Meers. "Then they go through our magazines and do an in-depth inspection checking everything from sprinklers, hoist and elevator systems, maintenance, and the level of knowledge of our ordnancemen and gunner's mates."

According to Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jeffrey Comstock, preparation for this inspection began over a year ago.

"We began preparing our weapons magazines while we were in the shipyards, so we've had a long time to get ready for this inspection," said Comstock. "We actually took the ATG check-list and used it as a base-line for our weapons handling program, then we upped it a level."

Comstock said that one of the things that pulled it all together was Weapons Department's "one team, one fight" mentality.

"Sailors can get pretty competitive at times, so at other commands you might find different divisions within one department competing against each other," said Comstock. "All of Kearsarge's Weapons Divisions works together, so no matter what magazine you enter they are all up to the same standard."

Training also played a key roll in the inspection's success.

"This isn't a pop quiz. ATG lets everyone know what they're looking for long before they show up to inspect," said Comstock. "We trained everyone to the same level of knowledge. So if an inspector asked our most junior Sailor a question, they knew the answer and what publication it was related to."

The benefit of this level of preparation can be long lasting.

"I think the younger Sailors in Weapons got a lot out of all this preparation," said Comstock. "We had a lot of lead time so we were able to do some really in-depth training and walk them through the entire process. This is really going to help them at future commands when they go through these types of inspections."

With the successful completion of this inspection, Kearsarge is ready to begin on-loading a full complement of weapons for their fall deployment.

SECNAV Visits Northwest

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chantel M. Clayton, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Northwest

April 15, 2010 - SILVERDALE, Wash (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus traveled to the Pacific Northwest for a four-day visit April 11-14.

During his time in the Northwest, Mabus toured military installations, held all hands calls aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor and met with local government, business and civic leaders.

Mabus also took the opportunity to reenlist Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Ryan Vannorman, who works at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility pump shop located on NBK Bangor.

"Not only was it a great honor to meet him, but I felt really honored that he took the time out of his busy schedule to be a part of my reenlistment ceremony and to reenlist me," said Vannorman.

During the all hands call aboard NBK Bangor, more than 600 Sailors and Marines packed the Bangor Plaza Ballroom to hear the SECNAV speak.

"On behalf of a very grateful country, I appreciate the job that everyone in here does. I don't think people see enough of what you do and the sacrifices you and your families make," said Mabus.

Mabus commended the flexibility Sailors and Marines display while serving their nation and their ability to meet whatever challenges they face.

"We can do anything from special warfare to disaster relief, to humanitarian assistance to partnership building. People in today's Navy and Marine Corps are skilled and dedicated. The Navy I was in years ago cannot touch today's Navy, because today, we have the highest skilled, best educated, most incredibly trained and the most dedicated fighting force that this country and the world has ever known," Mabus said.

Mabus thanked the Sailors and Marines for their service and explained how appreciative both he and the American people are for their sacrifices.

"People are appreciative of the security you provide them and future generations. One of my responsibilities is to go out and tell people what our Sailors and Marines do for them every single day, to ensure they know the hard work you do to protect them. On behalf of all of those folks who never see and never know what you do, thank you very much."